The New York Islanders will be in an Empire State of Mind when they face the New York Rangers, but they hope to Escape from New York with two points when all is said and done as they try to curb a three-game skid.
Thursday’s matchup with the Rangers comes as the two teams head in opposite directions. The Rangers have been surging back into the playoff conversation, while the Islanders dropped from the top of the division to third with the Boston Bruins hot on their tail.
Three consecutive losses to the Washington Capitals have put the Islanders in a tough spot and their 4-5-1 record over the last 10 games hasn’t helped their cause either. The Islanders have struggled to find the back of the net, except for their previous meeting with the Blue Shirts when they scored six times.
“I don’t think there’s a certain method towards why the puck doesn’t go in some nights,” Jordan Eberle said ahead of tonight’s game. “We played the Rangers a few nights ago and we put up six. A couple of nights later we can’t score. We’re creating chances, I think that’s the biggest thing. When I think about myself personally when I’m not scoring, first off are you creating chances? Are you getting chances? The answer is yes, then you just want to continue to do that, and eventually, the puck will start going in. I think that’s the same for a team.”
In an effort to jumpstart some offense for the New York Islanders on Tuesday, head coach Barry Trotz changed up the lineup a little bit. Oliver Wahlstrom and Travis Zajac returned to the lineup and Braydon Coburn took Noah Dobson’s spot on defense. Semyon Varlamov did not dress on Tuesday as well after dealing with some soreness.
Trotz said this morning that everyone, including Varlamov, was available for tonight’s rivalry matchup. Trotz did say there would be “one or two slight changes” to the lineup tonight.
“Anytime you don’t have success you look for some success so we’ll change things up,” Trotz said.
Trotz did not give specifics as to what changes would be made or who would start in net for the Islanders.
🎥 Trotz Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/xnsBWnVqdK
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 29, 2021
The Rangers will turn to Igor Shesterkin in goal as they try to keep their playoff push alive. Shesterkin has not played well against the Islanders, going 0-3-1 in four starts against them.
“Obviously, (Alexander Georgiev has) had a stellar record against the Islanders, which certainly gives you a long pause to decide who to play,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “But (Shesterkin’s) play over the last six weeks, I know what his record is against the Islanders, it is a small sample size. We kind of looked at the last game we played, it was a little bit of an outlier because of the way things unfolded for us.”
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Josh Bailey — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Travis Zajac — Brock Nelson — Kyle Palmieri
Anthony Beauvillier — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Andy Greene — Braydon Coburn
New York Rangers Lineup (Projected)
Alexis Lafreniere — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin — Ryan Strome — Colin Blackwell
Chris Kreider — Filip Chytil — Kaapo Kakko
Brett Howden — Kevin Rooney — Vitali Kravtsov
Libor Hajek — Adam Fox
Ryan Lindgren — Zac Jones
K’Andre Miller — Brendan Smith
The Rangers have won nine of their last 11 home games and have outscored opponents 54-25 during that span. … Mika Zibanejad’s 17 goals are the most in the NHL and his 35 points are the second-most in the NHL. … Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox are each averaging at least 0.80 assists per game this season. The Rangers have only had two seasons in franchise history which a forward and a defenseman have each averaged 0.80 or more assists per game. … The Islanders have 63 points through 49 games, matching their second-highest point total through 49 games since the 1984-85 season. … The Islanders are 26-for-28 on the penalty kill in the month of April for a league-best 92.9 success rate. … The Islanders have allowed 113 goals, including two shootout winners, through 49 games, which is the fewest goals through 49 games in club history.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game airs locally on MSG, MSG+2 and can be streamed on MSGGo or NHL.tv. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 970 AM WNYM, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.